Mammalian Classification

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This page lists the higher-order, traditional classification (plus the local species for two orders having only one species each in the Chihuahuan Desert Region), largely following Wilson and Reeder's Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed., 2005); the complete reference is available online at the Bucknell website.

Also available through the web is the Revised Checklist of North American Mammals North of Mexico, 2003 (Robert J. Baker, Lisa C. Bradley, Robert D. Bradley, Jerry W. Dragoo, Mark D. Engstrom, Robert S. Hoffmann, Cheri A. Jones, Fiona Reid, Dale W. Rice, and Clyde Jones, 2003). This may be downloaded as a pdf file from the Occasional Papers pages of the Museum of Texas Tech University; another important publication for our region obtainable from the same source is Taxonomy and Distribution of the Mammals of New Mexico: An Annotated Checklist (Jennifer K. Frey, 2004). The species lists have been updated as per these references.

McKenna and Bell (1997) have published an alternative classification that includes both living and fossil forms. A comparison for reference of the traditional (pre-Wilson and Reeder 2005) and the McKenna/Bell classifications is shown in Table 1 et seq.

This list has been put together largely as a resource for several courses taught at the University of Texas at El Paso. Consequently, the selection of taxa recorded is somewhat eclectic, depending on the needs of the various courses. Extinct forms are not covered and only a sampling of families not found in North America are listed. Coverage to the family level is complete only for native mammals of New Mexico, Trans-Pecos Texas, and adjacent Mexico. Comments and other names frequently used are in brackets.

The list was updated somewhat on 5 Sep 2008, reflecting current views concerning the rodent families Muridae and Cricetidae. Several typographical errors also were corrected.

Identification of mammals tends to be more difficult than for other tetrapods since external characters often are undiagnostic or diagnostic only with experience. Characters of the skull frequently are required. As a result, students of mammals rely heavily on taxonomic keys for identification until they learn the fauna they're working on. Taxonomic keys are available here for regional mammals.

The links in the list below to will take you to listings of the regional taxa.

Class Mammalia

Subclass Prototheria: Monotremes

Order Monotremata: Platypus and Echidnas

Subclass Theria

Infraclass Metatheria [until recently, all were placed in the single order Marsupialia]

Order Didelphimorphia: New World Opossums

Family Didelphidae

Didelphis virginiana: Virginia Opossum

Order Paucituberculata: Shrew or Rat Opossums

Order Microbiotheria: Monito del Monte

Order Notoryctemorphia: Marsupial Moles

Order Dasyuromorphia: Numbat, Marsupial Mice, Tasmanian Devil

Order Peramelemorphia: Bandicoots and Bilbies

Order Diprotodontia: Koala, Wallabies, Kangaroos, and Relatives

Infraclass Eutheria [There are large numbers of families not listed here. The taxonomy at the ordinal level is in some flux—the list here is relatively conservative].

Order Afrosoricida: Tenrecs and golden moles

Family Tenrecidae: Tenrecs and kin

Family Chrysochloridae: Golden Moles

Order Macroscelidea: Elephant Shrews

Order Tubulidentata: Aardvarks

Order Hyracoidea: Conies

Order Proboscidea: Elephants

Order Sirenia: Dugongs and Sea Cows

Order Cingulata: Armadillos

Family Dasypodidae: Armadillos

Dasypus novemcinctus: Nine-banded Armadillo

Order Pilosa: Sloths

Suborder Folivora: Sloths

Family Bradypodidae: Three-toed Sloths

Family Megalonichidae: Two-toed Sloths

Suborder Vermilingua: Anteaters

Family Cyclopedidae: Silky Anteater

Family Myrmecophagidae: Anteaters

Order Scandentia: Tree Shrews

Order Dermoptera: Colugos [Flying Lemurs]

Order Primates: Primates

Family Hominidae: Mankind

Order Rodentia

Family Aplodontidae: Mountain Beaver

Family Sciuridae: Squirrels

Family Castoridae: Beavers

Family Geomyidae: Pocket Gophers

Family Heteromyidae: Pocket Mice and Kangaroo Rats

Family Dipodidae (or Zapodidae): Jumping Mice

Family Muridae: Old World Mice and Rats

Family Cricetidae: "New World" Mice and Rats

Subfamily Arvicolinae: Voles and Relatives

Subfamily Neotominae: Neotomine Mice and Rats

Subfamily Sigmodontinae: New World Sigmodontine Mice and Rats

Family Erethizontidae: Porcupines

Family Myocastoridae: Nutria (Coypu is preferred)

Order Lagomorpha: Rabbits and kin

Family Ochotonidae: Pikas

Family Leporidae: Rabbits and Hares

Order Erinaceomorpha: Hedgehogs

Family Erinaceidae: Hedgehogs

Order Soricomorpha: Shrews, moles, and relatives

Family Nesophontidae: Nesophontes

Family Solenodontidae: Solenodons

Family Soricidae: Shrews

Family Talpidae: Moles

Order Chiroptera: Bats [Many families omitted]

Family Phyllostomidae: Leaf-nosed Bats

Family Mormoopidae: Mormoopid Bats

Family Molossidae: Molossid Bats

Family Vespertilionidae: Vespertilionid Bats

Order Pholidota: Pangolins and kin

Order Carnivora: Carnivores

Suborder Feliformia: Cat-like forms

Family Felidae: Cats

Family Viverridae: Civets and relatives

Family Eupleridae: Malagasy carnivores

Family Nandiniidae: African Palm Civet

Family Herpestidae: Herpestid mongooses and relatives

Family Hyaenidae: Hyaenas

Suborder Caniformia: Dog-like forms

Family Canidae: Dogs and relatives

Family Ursidae: Bears

Family Otariidae: Eared Seals

Family Odobenidae: Walrus

Family Phocidae: Phocid Seals

Family Mustelidae: Weasels, otters, and relatives

Family Mephitidae: Skunks

Family Procyonidae: Racoons and relatives

Family Ailuridae: Red Panda

Order Perissodactyla: Horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses

Family Equidae: Horses and relatives

Family Tapiridae: Tapirs

Family Rhinocerotidae: Rhinoceroses

Order Artiodactyla: Pigs, Camels, Deer, Giraffes, Cattle, and kin

Family Suidae: Pigs

Family Tayassuidae: Peccaries

Family Hippopotamidae: Hippopotamuses

Family Camelidae: Camels, Llamas, and relatives

Family Tragulidae: Tragulids

Family Moschidae: Musk Deer

Family Cervidae: Deer

Family Antilocapridae: Pronghorn [Often called antelope]

Family Giraffidae: Giraffes

Family Bovidae: Cattle, sheep, goats, and relatives

Order Cetacea: Whales

Suborder Mysticeti: Baleen whales

Suborder Odontoceti: Toothed whales


Latest Update: 5 Sep 2008